Convalt Energy begins moving operations to north country

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – Convalt Energy, the solar panel manufacturer, is starting to bring its operations to the north country and its CEO is looking to invest even more into the region.

Piece by piece, crews are beginning to take materials off trucks sent to Jefferson County from Oregon.

The materials will create Convalt Energy’s solar panel manufacturing facility, proposed for the Watertown Airport Business Park.

“He wants to be able to shut down the Oregon operation by the end of the month and have everything here. So, we are going to be seeing trucks, you know 200-250 trucks coming in over the next 30 days or so,” said David Zembiec, CEO of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.

Zembiec is talking about Convalt CEO Hari Achuthan, who plans to bring, at first, hundreds of jobs to the area with this move. More could follow.

“We got to get the permits and approvals from the town of Hounsfield then once we receive that, we then need to complete our financing process,” said Achuthan.

He says if all goes well, they hope to break ground this summer.

But until the building is up and running, all the supplies being shipped need to be housed somewhere.

To do that, Achuthan is in the process of investing $4 million into the former Living Water Fellowship Church building on outer Pearl Street. It’ll become a 100-square foot warehouse, but needs a loan and tax breaks from the JCIDA.

Achuthan is also in the process of acquiring an old warehouse building at the corner of Pearl and Water streets in Watertown, looking to use it to hold even more of the company’s equipment.

“Because you have got a factory that is 350,000-square feet and all the equipment that we purchased used to be housed in 200,000-square feet,” said Achuthan.

Funding for the old Black Clawson facility will be up for discussion at Thursday’s Watertown Local Development Corporation meeting.

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